Oh I Wish I Was in Dixie: A Different North America

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Can you please give us some examples of Dixie sci-fi?
The most popular example of Dixie sci-fi is the Ventures television show which ran from 1981-1994, which featured a cast of humans and both puppet and costumed aliens traveling throughout the cosmos and getting into wacky situations. The show was ran by Jim Henson and became very popular during its run among both children and adults. The TV show has been adapted into several movies most recently in the 2017 Ventures movie that was made in Hollywood rather than in Dixie and was one of the best selling movies of that year.
What do you think Lucy Hale is doing ITTL?
Hale is a popular pop singer in Dixie and rose to popularity after she won the second season of the hit singing competition TV show Dixie Star in 2009.
2020 Pennsylvania Provincial Election
2020 Pennsylvania Provincial Election

In March 2020, Pennsylvania held elections for all 110 seats in its General Assembly. The Labor Party led by incumbent Premier Joe Sestak retained its majority in the Assembly despite losing 7 seats.

As this was the first provincial election since the election of Al Johnson as leader of the national Liberal Party, many saw this election as a test of Johnson's popularity among voters in the Commonwealth. Johnson bucked normal trends for leaders and campaigned heavily in the province for the Liberal Party. Even though Johnson claimed a symbolic victory for the Liberals as they gained 10 seats in this heavily Labor-friendly province, many saw this as a lukewarm performance among for the Liberals.

The biggest loser for the election were the Democratic People's Party who lost nearly half their seats including that of their leader Lou Barletta.

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2019 Spanish Presidential Election
2019 Spanish Presidential Election
2019 Spanish Presidential Election.png

The 2019 Spanish presidential election was the 19th quadrennial presidential election, held on Monday, May 27, 2019. The People's Alliance ticket of Castilla la Nueva Senator Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Galicia Deputy Ana Pastor defeated the Republican ticket of Andalusia Governor Susana Díaz and former Treasury Secreatary Juan Garamendi. Lopez-Cantera took office as the 23rd president, and Pastor as the 25th vice president, on June 25, 2019.

Lopez-Cantera's success ended 16 straight years of Republican Party control over the presidency after the 2-term presidencies of Cristina Alberdi and Ramón Jáuregui. Lopez-Cantera's campaign emphasized his criticism of the Republican economic policies of the past 16 years, particularly in the economically depressed regions in northwestern Spain. Lopez-Cantera also criticized the Jáuregui administration's weak response to the continuing nationalist violence in Spanish Sahara.

Díaz, a fairly obscure figure in Spanish politics before her surprise nomination as president, ran on continuing the previous administrations' policies and expanding Spain's fiscally fragile National Health Program. Díaz received criticism for her selection of Garamendi as a running mate because of possible connections he had to the 2012 Pensions Scandal while he was Treasury Secretary.

Lopez-Cantera won a majority in Spain's electoral college winning 217 votes to Díaz's 201. Lopez-Cantera also won a plurality of the country's popular vote beating Díaz by 1.2%. The tipping point state in this election was Asturias worth 11 electoral votes which Lopez-Cantera won by 2.5%.
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What can you tell us about Megan Fox or Jennifer Lawrence?
Today's the day for the first round of the Georgia special election! I've imagined it as an upset success for the Social Democrats, with Terry beating Tomlinson for the second place by a razor-thin margin. Unlikely, I admit, but the polls showed the SD within nine points after the Unionists, and they've had three weeks to close the gap.
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Is there a defining or signature issue in the Georgia special election, or is it more a general "midterm" feel for President Edwards?
Darn it. I was wrong :( Well, better luck next time, I guess.

Besides that, I'm very curious about that "Rhineland War", which seems to have been a WW2 analogue, but on a smaller scale (hence the name), as well as the European situation overall.
I was actually planning on doing something with the Rhineland soon, and I'll definitely include some stuff about the war and the aftermath in it.

Is there a Federated States Army? or what is the current status of the military forces of Dixie?
Yes Dixie currently has quite a sizable Army, Navy, and Air Force for its size, although it hasn't been involved in many significant conflicts in the 1990's.

Is there a defining or signature issue in the Georgia special election, or is it more a general "midterm" feel for President Edwards?
Tomlinson and Bernanke are not very controversial (though Bernanke is more moderate than his party at large), so the special election is being seen as largely a referendum on the Landrieu administration and a signal of what's to come in the midterm elections in 2021.
The Rhineland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of North Germany. The Rhineland, despite being part of another country, is treated as independent by many on the world's stage. Today, The Rhineland is the richest and most developed part of North or South Germany.

In the early 1940's, the tensions between fascist, socialist, and monarchist factions within the Federal Republic of North Germany led to revolts and riots in many parts of North Germany, but the largest of which started in the city of Cologne in March 1940. In December 1940, following the defeat of several divisions of the North German Army by Socialist revolutionaries near the Belgian border, a League of Nations coalition of countries including France, Belgium, the UK, the Commonwealth of America, and Texas invaded the Rhineland in attempt to quell the chaos in the area. Johannes Bell, the Chancellor of North Germany at the time, called the intervention an illegal act of aggression, but did not take any action against the Coalition.

In the Rhineland, the League of Nations coalition dismantled the burgeoning German People's Republic in the area and eventually occupied all of the region west of the Rhine. In the Rhineland, the coalition forces led by American General Dwight D. Eisenhower fought paramilitary forces throughout 1941 until a relative peace took hold in the area. In the rest of North Germany however, the fighting between the socialist and fascist forces led to the start of the North German Civil War and the fall of the Bell government in July 1941 during the Berlin Riots.

In 1943, the Rhineland Protectorate was created by the League of Nations to administer the occupied region during the civil war with a commissioner appointed by the League serving as head of government and an elected legilsature. Following the end of the civil war and the beginning of Gerd von Rundstedt's military dictatorship in 1946, the Rhineland remained under the League protectorate despite Rundstedt's demands for the region. Under the protectorate and largely in part from western investments, the Rhineland grew to be much richer than the war-torn North Germany.

In 1967, at the urging of the North German junta, a referendum was held in the Rhineland with the choice of either rejoining North Germany or continuing on as a protectorate with more autonomy. Even though the North German government ran a strong campaign for reunification, the choice of remaining a protectorate won by a large margin. Shortly after the referendum, the Rhineland was given the right to elect their own commissioner making it de facto independent.

Following North Germany democratizing in 1982, calls for reunification would rise in popularity again. In 1990, a second referendum for reunification was held, and this time, rejoining the Kingdom of North Germany with extra autonomy defeated the other options like official independence, status quo, and full integration into North Germany. Sabine Bergmann-Pohl, the Chancellor of North Germany at the time, is largely contributed as the reason the reunification vote was successful as she was able to eased the fears of many Rhinelanders who though that any promise of autonomy would not be honored by the North German government.

Bergmann-Pohl's promises to the Rhinelanders ended up being kept by the North German government. Rhineland officially rejoined North Germany as an autonomous country with the ability to regulate most everything but monetary policy and defense. Rhineland even holds its own seat in the League of Nations showing just how independent it is on the world stage. Rhineland today has its own political parties and a system of government where the elected members of the legislature, called the Landtag, chose from among them a Commissioner, as the head of government for the country.

2020 Rhineland General Election
In the 2020 elections, the incumbent centrist party, United Rhineland, which has been the largest party in the country since the late 90's, continued their success in the elections for the Landtag. United Rhineland and their leader, Commissioner Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, however, saw some losses to a resurgent Labour Party and their new leader Heiko Maas, and to their coalition partners, the Christian Demoratic Party led by Julia Klöckner.

The three smaller parties in the Landtag, the Greens, the right-wing and pro-independent Sovereignty, and the Pirate Party all suffered losses in 2020. Unfortunately for them, the Pirate Party, who first appeared in the Landtag in the 2016 elections, failed to clear the 5% threshold to win any of the At-Large delegates locking them out of the Landtag. Sovereignty, who also failed to clear the 5% threshold, managed to qualify for it by winning one district seat in Cologne.

While most elections in autonomous Rhineland rarely involve policies of the North German government, the 2020 election largely revolved around Commissioner Lambsdorff's failure to negotiate a favorable settlement for the North German Schwesig Government's new expanded pension program. While Schwesig's program originally called for Rhineland to receive a sizable subsidy to benefit their own pension program, Lambsdorff's agreement with the North German government settled on a much smaller subsidy in the end.

Lambsdorff defended his agreement by claiming that the original proposal placed far too many regulations on Rhineland's ability to take advantage of the subsidy. Maas and the Labour Party however strongly criticized Lambsdorff for what they called turning down a handout to help the elderly of Rhineland. Surprisingly, Klöckner even came out against the agreement calling it a bad deal and signalling that the CDP would not support Lambsdorff's deal if it came to a vote. Eventually, Lambsdorff relented and came to a new agreement with the North German government with a subsidy level closer to the original, though Labour would oppose it.

In the election, United Rhineland would lose a chunk of their seats, but even then the ruling United Rhineland-CDP coalition only lost 3 seats overall, allowing Lambsdorff to remain as Commissioner for the time being.

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What can you tell us about Megan Fox and Jennifer Lawrence?
Fox is a fairly well-known international supermodel appearing in publications in Europe and the Americas. Recently Fox has also appeared as a rotating judge on the Commonwealth's Got Talent TV for several seasons

Lawrence, who was originally born in Dixie, moved to the Commonwealth as a young adult to move into acting there. In the Commonwealth, she has been mildly successful getting roles in a number of movies and television shows, but is not as successful as her counterpart in OTL.

Did Howlin' Henry Howell ever run in Virginia ITTL?
Despite the Unionists managing to win Virginia in several presidential, vice presidential, and senate elections, for several decades the Unionists were unable to overcome the Democrats and Nationals in the state government. Throughout the 50's and 60's, the Unionists lost gubernatorial election after gubernatorial election to the Democrats or Nationals. The Unionists' strength in Western Virginia failed to carry them into wins in the state as a whole. Even though the Unionists dominated federal politics nationally at the time, they failed to win any gubernatorial election until 1970. Finally in that year, Henry Howell, a freshman congressman and populist campaigner, managed to defeat incumbent Democratic governor William Story and former National governor Mills Godwin to be the first Unionist governor or Virginia even while Claude Pepper, the Unionist candidate for president that year, lost Virginia to his National opponent. After 1970, the Democrats saw the same sharp decline they saw in several other states, and the party became increasingly relegated to a small number of states.

Howell would go onto serve 2 terms as governor, and became one of the first governors in Dixie to embrace the Equal Rights movement. In 1982, Howell would run for the Unionist nomination for president, but ultimately lost the primaries to another populist Unionist governor, Cliff Finch of Mississippi. Howell briefly considered running for the vice presidency that year, but passed after he determined that incumbent VP Howard Baker was too strong to defeat. Howell retired from politics in 1982 after his second term as governor ended.
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